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Dumplin' Paperback – March 14, 2017
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Sixteen-year-old Dolly Parton-loving Willowdean doesn't usually struggle with her identity and self-confidence as a fat girl in a her small Texas town, where her mother leads the local pageant scene, until hot former jock Bo kisses her. In this novel, Murphy takes her time letting Willowdean explore her feelings about a variety of situations relating to friendship, jealousy, sexual attraction, drag queens, her obese aunt's death, her relationship with her mother, and her own self-worth. Murphy celebrates small-town Texas with her strong sense of community and culture, in part by creating very realistic and deep characters to populate Willowdean's world, having them frequent places like truckbeds and fast-food joints, and giving them pure Texan dialogue: "Oh God, roll down the mother flippin' windows!" Unlike the similarly smart, funny, and large heroines of Robin Brande's Fat Cat (Knopf, 2009) or Suzanne Supplee's Artichoke's Heart (Dutton, 2008), Willowdean doesn't have to lose the weight to get the boy and her confidence, but instead remains a strong and realistic overweight girl to whom many readers will aspire: "I'm not doing this to be some kind of Joan of Fat Girls, or whatever. I'm doing this…for me." VERDICT A joyous read that will be beloved by many teens who can relate to feeling uncertain in their own skins.—Rhona Campbell, Georgetown Day School, Washington, DC --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
“Will’s singular voice compels readers to think about all that goes into building-and destroying-self-esteem...Splendid” (Booklist (starred review))
“I’m obsessed with this book. Wickedly funny, heartbreakingly real, full of characters to love and cheer for. DUMPLIN’ is such a star.” (Katie Cotugno, author of How to Love and 99 Days)
“DUMPLIN’ should be required reading for anyone who has ever felt even slightly uncomfortable in his or her skin. Julie Murphy’s star continues to shine with this groundbreaking, poignant story that will surely change lives.” (John Corey Whaley, award-winning author of Noggin and Where Things Come Back)
“Murphy…successfully makes every piece of the story…count, weaving them together to create a harmonious, humorous, and thought-provoking whole.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“[A] richly enjoyable novel...a clever and funny book to please lovers of thoughtful romance and secret pageant fans.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)
“Genuine, romantic, and with a dash of Texan charm, this is a novel that celebrates being who you are while also acknowledging that it’s incredibly difficult to do.” (The Horn Book)
“Portrays and challenges sterotypes about beauty pageants, size issues, and women’s concerns...Powerful.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA))
Praise for SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY: “Honest and unflinching, this is a compelling story of one teen’s struggle with cancer, love, and living. A worthwhile addition.” (School Library Journal)
Praise for SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY: “Readers will turn the last page wanting to know where the next chapter leads.” (Kirkus Reviews)
Praise for SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY: “Alice and Harvey’s relationship is raw, honest, moving, and unapologetic in its depiction of their individual, and collective, pain.” (Booklist)
Praise for SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY: “Julie Murphy weaves together a tender and funny tale of love, friendship, heartache, and redemption. SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY explodes with brutal honesty, brilliant wit, and unflinching heart.” (John Corey Whaley, winner of the Michael L. Printz Award for WHERE THINGS COME BACK)
Praise for SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY: “Julie Murphy’s SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY is a funny, heartfelt, honest look at the beauty and the risk of getting a second chance. An inspiring novel about all the things worth living for. I adored this debut!” (Siobhan Vivian, author of The List)
Praise for SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY: “A funny and touching novel about a strong-willed heroine who finds facing death simple, but facing life heart-wrenchingly complicated. A real original.” (Jennifer Echols, author of GOING TOO FAR)
Praise for SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY: “A tale of unlikely romance, impossible obstacles, and mortality, this book is a must-read.”- (Teen Vogue)
Praise for SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY: “It’s equal parts fun, cringe-worthy, and totally fearless!” (Seventeen Magazine)
Praise for SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY: “An unexpected twist on the typical cancer story.” (Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA))
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Willowdean proves to be one of my all-time favorite characters. She is an underdog, bullied and made fun of because of her weight, yet she has flaws as well. Her insecurities transform her into a self-sabotaging teen, afraid of love and loyalty, at times.
I will hand this book to boys and girls alike. Willowdean's viewpoint on life is refreshing and important, all at once. My students will quickly identify with the depiction of small-town life in West Texas. There are so many reasons that this book will be a certain favorite in our classroom!
I really liked the characters in this, and there's a large cast. Particular love for Hannah, Amanda, Mitch, and Lee. And Lucy -- despite not being alive anymore, Lucy is a *really* important character here.
I wasn't particularly convinced by the romance, but that was my only main issue with the book.